Nadal Wins Marathon Dimitrov Encounter, to Face Federer in Australian Open Final
by Staff | January 27th, 2017, 10:37 am
  • 68 Comments

The dream has been realized.
ADHEREL
Rafael Nadal will face Roger Federer in the Australian Open final after the No. 9-seeded Spaniard edged Grigor Dimitrov in five sets 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-4 on Friday night in Melbourne.

Dimitrov, playing inspired, fearless tennis, was denied a first Grand Slam final appearance by the former No. 1 who broke the Bulgarian’s serve at 4-4 in the fifth set, then after a long game with numerous match points finally held to clinch the match, falling to the court in relief.

“I think Grigor played great. I played great,” Nadal told the media afterwards. “So was a great quality of tennis tonight. So just for me, is amazing to be through to a final of Grand Slam again here in Australia at the first of the year. Means a lot to me. I feel the love of the people here…Arrive moment in the fifth set that for sure I wanted to win. I say to myself, I am giving my best, I am playing very well. If I lose, that’s it. Grigor deserves, too.”

The win was vindication for the Spaniard after weathering a 2016 filled with injury and doubt.

“Last year was tough,” he said. “When you feel that you are playing very well and you have to go from Roland Garros without going on court, I remember myself crying on the car coming back to hotel, no? That was a tough moment. But then I tried very hard for to play the Olympics. I take risks to play Olympics because it is a very special event for me. To represent my country there was so important. I take the risk. Was a great Olympic Game for me. Having gold medal in doubles. I was close to having a medal in singles. If I have to be back there, I would play again. But after that, I played the US Open with okay conditions. After that, the hand was not there any more, no? I had to stop, and was a great decision, I think.”

For Dimitrov the tough five-set loss foretells possible great things in 2017.

“It’s never easy to lose a match like that. I’m happy, though, with a lot of things,” he said. “I’m going to stay positive and keep my head up high. For sure Rafa deserves pretty much all the credit right now since he’s such a fighter, such a competitor. At the same time it was an honor for me to play a match like that against him. It also shows me that I’m in a good way, I’m on the right path…I’m proud of my team. Proud of my coach. Everyone that has taken care of me that month, it’s been super intense. We can relax for a little bit now and get back to work.”

Nadal has won six of the eight Grand Slam finals he has played against Federer. It will be the first in almost six years, the last when Nadal won the 2011 French Open.

Nadal is 23-11 head-to-head against Federer.


You Might Like:
Wawrinka Escapes, Nadal Strong, Loaded Schedule Thursday at ATP Cincinnati Including Murray
Poll: Better Future, Grigor Dimitrov Or Bernard Tomic?
Henin Streak Ends at French Open; Stosur to Face Serena Williams
Zverev Wins 50th, Cilic Out In Basel; Federer Returns Thursday
Watch Grigor Dimitrov Get Birthday Cake In The Face [Video]

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

68 Comments for Nadal Wins Marathon Dimitrov Encounter, to Face Federer in Australian Open Final

RZ Says:

Just when the players think they’ve made a dent in the Big 4 due to early upsets, we still get a Big 4 final. I’m excited for this. I think it will be a fun match. Last time they played here was a nervy affair but both guys are probably more relaxed this time around. They are playing for history again but they’ve already made history and appreciate being back after absences.


RZ Says:

So will it be Roger or Rafa holding the trophy? Or more importantly, will it be Elina or J.S. winning the bracket?


Bob Lewis Says:

Congrats to Rafa on another final. Ljubicic to help Roger write the runner-up speech? J/K. Hoping for a better ending in this rivalry this time. Everyone knows how much is on the line. Will be fun.


Anto Says:

Even though I am a Rafa fan and want him to win this gs so much, there is a part of me who wants to see Roger win it. I cant really explain why. Anyway who ever wins I will be happy for him.


madmax Says:

RZ Says:
Just when the players think they’ve made a dent in the Big 4 due to early upsets, we still get a Big 4 final. I’m excited for this. I think it will be a fun match. Last time they played here was a nervy affair but both guys are probably more relaxed this time around. They are playing for history again but they’ve already made history and appreciate being back after absences.

January 27th, 2017 at 11:15 am

RZ, what super comments – I absolutely agree. It’s a tough call, but I am going with Federer. I speak with my head this time.


Truth Says:

It will be forgettable since the evil, arrogant deluded one, with the old age excuse, is SO boring.
Excuse making Vile, Crying Condescending Clown and cheating fans vs. The Poor “one dimensional ” Claymaster


SG1 Says:

Now here’s the final no one (definitely not me) expected.


SG1 Says:

Lots of history at stake in the final. Does Federer break his own slam record? Does Nadal get his 15th and with RG on the way, put himself in position to catch Federer and pass Pete Sampras for No.2 on the all time slam list? And then there’s the history between these two. Incredible. Can’t wait!


skeezer Says:

@SG1
Ditto. I though both have made great runs this tourney. Rafa has never looked better (on a fast court). Maybe these two should play less and practice more. Seems to work.
Hope they both bring their “A” game. NO fading lol.


SG1 Says:

Federer keeps running into either Djokovic or Nadal in slam finals. Can he, with his new racket, deal with the high kicking topspin on Nadal’s forehand from the backhand wing? Loving the drama?


FedExpress Says:

50-50 match. hoping to see a peak fed ala in the 2010 final vs murray.

relax and dont overthink, fed.
has played poorly in the gs finals though he played really well till the final.

for rafa this a gs final after neaely 3 years. he has to feel some nerves.

and then history between the two.

i habe faith in rog this time.


Danica Says:

Congrats to Rafa and Rafans. Great start to the year. Abu Dhabi trophy and now, at least the finals of the AO. This will be a great final that I will just sit and watch and enjoy without being invested. I am rooting for Rafa a bit more :)

In any case, the new milestone will be set. Either Roger gets the record 18th slam or Rafa becomes the first player to accomplish the double career slam.


J-Kath Says:

Bob Lewis:

Rafa vs Roger – it feels historic – almost as if this is last GS final where these two meet each other. I am routing for Rafa possibly because he has had to overcome more physical difficulties throughout his career and he still fights to the very last point – he’s also had a more difficult route to the final.

Truth: I was going to sigh again at your discombobulated dissertation – but the “Claymaster” gave me the clue – Wow you are supporting Rafa!


SG1 Says:

Federer should be the fresher of the two but his legs are also 5 years older. I think that the longer Rafa can keep Federer out there the better things turn out for Rafa. If there are a bunch of 6-3 and 6-4 sets, I give the edge to Federer. Hitting high backhand for 4 hours will take its toll on Roger. And playing Dimitrov isn’t so different from playing Federer in terms of the action on the ball. Federer doesn’t play anyone like Rafa. Agree with the 50-50 thing. No clue as to who wins this one.


Lego Says:

Big Roger fan here and saying it as it is. Rafa for the 15th on Sunday. There is no way Roger is winning this against him.


skeezer Says:

SG1,
Re: BH. That is really the only question right? When it comes down to it, it is simple. He(Fed) has to deal with the constant bashing of Rafa’s high bouncing FH > to Fed’s BH. If he(Fed) can create a way to deal with that he wins. Otherwise, we are going to be seeing the same whole pattern. If I was Rafa, that is what I would do. If it’s not broke, why fix it? Just do the same ol same ol.
I did notice Dimi would not step in at times and let that spin take over him, thus putting him out of position. Fed does have a shot, after all , he is on a court that suits him and the ball flys faster through the court. I think we all will know how things are going to go in the first set.


jatin Says:

It was some extraordinary performance from the GREAT Rafael Nadal.
So, its real, we get FEDAL.
I don’t know what to say, the only thing which keeps me hopeful is their last match against each other, which fed won.
Coincidentally, Rafa played a tough semi final against Dimitrov and then faced fed in the finals in Basel.
But history is repeating itself in another way as well. Rafa played an epic 5 hour match against verdasco and went on to beat fed in the finals in 2009. Similary he has played another 5 hours semis here. The difference could be the style, while rafa played a guy who has such a similar game to his back then, and this time he played a guy whose game is similar to fed. See the pattern. Could it result a different outcome this time ?

Just glad to see these two LEGENDS facing each other again. Can you Imagine the TRP’s ? It could be the MOST watched Tennis match ever.
Hoping for another EPIC match.


skeezer Says:

To add Fed HAS to have a big serving day that dictates. That will keep him in the match till further notice.


FedExpress Says:

hahahahaha lego. there is always a way.


FedExpress Says:

Yeah serve and BH have to work.


SG1 Says:

Skeezer…this one’s going to be saweeet!


madmax Says:

J-KATH “Rafa– he’s also had a more difficult route to the final”.

J-KATH – you are not serious are you?

RAFA

Zverev /24 5 sets
Monfils /6 4 sets
Raonic /3 3 sets
Dimitrov /15 5 sets

Federer – off the tour for 6 months – first tournament unless we count Hopman Cup – you choose

FEDERER

Berdych /10 3 sets
Nishikori /5 5 sets
Zverev / 50 3 sets (who took out Andy Murray!)
Wawrinka 4/ 5 sets

Federer’s draw has been brutal. They have both played a minimum of TWO top ten players, but Federer has played THREE.

Interested to see how you justify Nadal’s route to the final being’MORE’ difficult? Because he has played for longer on the court, or the player he has played? If you are around, would love to hear from you.

It’s a genuine question.


SG1 Says:

Hope they both bring their best. It’s all any fan can hope for.


madmax Says:

JATIN!

Just make sure you are around on Sunday. We have to keep FEDEX here on TX, calm; no negativity – just pure belief and support.


madmax Says:

FedExpress Says:
50-50 match. hoping to see a peak fed ala in the 2010 final vs murray.

relax and dont overthink, fed.
has played poorly in the gs finals though he played really well till the final.

for rafa this a gs final after neaely 3 years. he has to feel some nerves.

and then history between the two.

i habe faith in rog this time. I HAVE FAITH IN ROG THIS TIME. I HAVE FAITH IN ROG THIS TIME. Remember FedEx, repeat after YOU!

January 27th, 2017 at 12:31 pm


Markus Says:

This Australian Open is magical. Federer vs Nadal, Williams vs Williams. We all know what the final results will be but still, this does not happen even in dreams. Congratulations to all four!


lyle nubbins Says:

@ skeezer: agree the serve of Roger is key. Also I don’t see how he out-rallies Rafa. Frankly, I think he’s a huge underdog.


Daniel Says:

Fast court and Fed plays more insde the court than Dimi and takes veryhting on the raise. This plays more like a fast court where Nadal beat Fed once in Cincy in 3, Dubai and London. Byt Fed has several vicotires on fast Hard, London and Basel (last time they played).

He sure has a shot to avoid Fh x BH exchanges, That is impossible to avoid on clay, but fast hard he can. He has to go to the net more. dimi played too much baseline, Zevrev attacked the net more than Dimi.

Fed has a chance, but the longer the match goes (if Nadal doesn’t feel today´s effect), the better for Nadal. Unless he really feels his nerves like recent five set matches he lost in Slams.


kriket Says:

I was the first to call a Fedal final lol.
Anyway, congrats to Nadal fans, commiserations to Dimitrov fans, he played an inspired match.

Now, one has to wonder if there wasn’t for Đoković and occasional Murray, would have we been watching Fedal finals for the last six years? :)


gonzalowski Says:

Hope Trump doesn’t hear this, but…
VAYA HUEVOS TIENEN RAFA Y DIMITROV,
what a match they offered. Glad about Nadal


Van orten Says:

Wow wow Never felt so much enthusiasm from both sides around here.
Viva fedal!!!


RZ Says:

Love the excitement among all Tennis-Xers.

I’d love to see Federer win (he was my favorite before Andy) but will be happy either way as long as neither guy gets injured or chokes. In other words, I’m hoping for a good match!


Temple Says:

Federer has already lost two championship points in the coming final via proxy (Dimitrov 15-40, then to serve for the match, then to promptly capitulate to Federer in the finals).

Much as I’d like Fed to lift the 18th trophy of his (wouldn’t it be poetic to get it, while Nadal gets La Decima etc etc), this is not, alas, the way sports work.

I really cannot see how Liubicic can solve the one unsolvable trick an army of coaches before him hasn’t. Basel and London arguments sound a bit like palliative care and I am afraid that the least predicted finals for both men and women of the 2017 Australian Open will end with the most predictable results.


madmax Says:

RZ, I am hoping for a win from Federer, though hard court indoor, 02 – 2010 and 2011, in the final – and the score, would you believe 6:3, 6:0 I never did see Federer play so well against Rafa – so confident and so free. But this was 6 years ago now – they are different players – never to be seen again – never – we should enjoy this whilst we can.

I know he can do it. I just know it. So happy to see these two in a final again. Nothing will ever match this beautiful duo on a tennis court. It is nostalgic for sure –


FedExpress Says:

there will be crucial situations like serving out from a hole. fed has to be careful when he approaches the next. in 2014 the tactic totally backfired. got passed most of the time. but in his defense, edberg was just new to his team and they hadnt perfected the tactic.

stay calm, focus and dont go easy. and please dont volley/smash back to nadal when the court is open.


PDT Says:

This match is a dream for a fan of Rafa, who also will not be upset if Federer wins.

1) If Federer wins, the GS record grows by one from 17 to 18, just amazing.

2) If Rafa wins, he is one closer to tying Fed, but also achieves his second career GS in winning them all twice! Also amazing.


lyle nubbins Says:

another factor: Nadal believes he can win versus Federer, probably more than he believed he could beat Grigor or Zverev. This will help with his nerves.


All out Says:

Fedal!!!! I was hoping for this from day one. This dimitrov’s game is a lot similar to how Roger plays it. But I’ve always felt that roger is a momentum player and Rafa is a rhythm player. For roger to win, he must keep his cool, take the ball early and take the attack to rafa right from point one hoping that rafa has an off day. For rafa to win, he just has to do what he’s been doing his entire career.. Solve whatever problem has been put before him on court. It’s going to be hard for federer to last 5 sets against this marathon beast. If roger has his momentum upset even once in the match, nadal will smell blood and nerves or not he’ll fight as if his life depends on it.. No quarter given whatsoever. Allez Roger!! Vamos Rafa!!


skeezer Says:

At this point in Tennis, there is no other greater than these two combined. They deserve the respect of fans of the Tennis world, and they get it. Combined they own 31 Grand Slams(Fed alone has made 28 GS Finals!), soon 32!! There is no other combination in the history of Tennis that has produce as much in one era. None.
C’mon, Fedal, give us one last great show!


J.S. Says:

RESEPECT RESPECT = RAFA AND ROGER!!

FUN FUN = FOR THE FANS!


J.S. Says:

SORRY FOR TYPOS
RESPECT RESPECT


Kimberly Says:

Remember all the massive fights/name calling/psychotic behavior us Fedal fans used to have from around 2010 when I first started posting here. Jane and Margot were the few Murray and Djoker fans. The rest of us just flat out fought about Fedal.

Now that the relevance of Fedal questioned and its been over 5 years since they have met in a grand slam final we are just grateful to have it.


Kimberly Says:

Of course I haven’t like posted in three years or so, since like maybe the 2014 French Open. Now here I am.


Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer…….Amen!!!


TGIT Says:

Love Roger but he will lose in three.

Rafa playing too well and aggressive and Roger is happy to be there.

If Roger loses first set when playing Rafa he loses focus panics and stops playing.

Look at Stan for two sets he kept hitting short balls into the middle of the court. Total brain fart.


AndyMira Says:

Oh God!This is tough!I HATE this match up!This is the 2nd match up that i hate other than Rafa vs Andy…I mean,love to see the beautiful and incredible tennis that will come out from their racquet,and Rafa always,always can find and extra gear if he meet with Roger..But i don’t like to see either one of them lose in the end…I want Rog to win his 18th but i would love for rafa to add to his 15th just as much..so i will let fate and luck do the choice…

C’MON ROG AND RAFA!!!!WOOOOHOOOO!!FINAL IT IS!!!


Chrisford1 Says:

Temple – ” I am afraid that the least predicted finals for both men and women of the 2017 Australian Open will end with the most predictable results.”
=======================
Well done. Pithy!


Chrisford1 Says:

Two guys Roger struggles against in big events since 2008. Djokovic and Nadal
He gets his licks in, winning now and then (2011 vs. Djokovic at the FO for example), but generally gets the dish while Novak or Rafa gets the cup.

Still against all odds before the AO started – we get a scintillating All-Williams Sistas Final, and a very rare these days Fedal Final.

BTW, Fed has signed up for Indian Wells, as has Rafa.


Navdeep Says:

An interesting stat – Rafa lost to raonic in his previous match then beat him here, he lost to Dimitrov in their last match n now beat him too n has also lost to Roger as well in their last encounter. So if Rafa continues the pattern, then he is winning it!


DC Says:

Dimi didn’t play the angels against Rafa.
Fed can create more angles off both angles against Rafa.

Fed takes the ball earlier than Dimi which will take precious time from Rafa and Rafa will need to do lot more faster running than he had to do against Dimi.

Fed can finish off points at the net more efficiently than Dimi. Dimi missed quite a few volleys.

Fed will probably serve more accurately and will try to finish points earlier. Rafa will have to be accurate with his passes and will have to run faster and longer than he did against Dimi.

Game wise the edge goes to Fed; psychologically Rafa has the edge.

If Fed keeps a consistently high level of quality , he has a very good chance to grab no 18.


Margot Says:

It’s great to see you back Kimberly. Hope all is well with the family. Expecting to see Colin in the tennis news headlines any time soon. :)


Michael Says:

The last time they met in a slam final was way back in 2011 and that will tell you something about the change of guard in Tennis.

Now coming to this match, most of the variables seem to be favouring Roger despite the fact that he is yet to win against Rafa at the Australian Open. The biggest advantage Roger will enjoy is the faster courts which nodoubt will favour his game. And another important variable is a tired Rafa after a brutal and gruelling match. Of course it didn’t matter in 2009 when Roger played so poorly, but this is a new day and age and things need not be the same.

If Roger needs to win, he has to have a higher first serve percentage than he has performed so far in the tournament. His confidence will shoot up several folds if that particular Dept., clicks. He has also has to surprise Rafa with more raids into the net risking passes. And also Roger needs to ensure that the match ends in four sets because mentally he cannot cope up with Rafa if it extends to the fifth set although Rafa is physically challenged due to the marathon outing he had in the semi finals.

I would still give a slight edge to Rafa only because of the incontrovertible fact that he is in Roger’s head which makes him tight and falter at key moments. I hope I am proved wrong by Roger.


J-Kath Says:

Madmax:

Fed. had easier first two rounds. Berdych-well what can we say? Kei suffering injury again Zevrez Snr. had returned to earth by the time he met Fed. Fed.’s major contest was Stan.

Rafa had the strong, younger Zevrev (5 sets) plus Raonic plus Dimi (Gael always suspect but messed up again.).

Sunday is nearly here – it’s going to be tight. While Rafa never knows when he’s beaten, his legs may tell him differently.


gonzalowski Says:

Tony Nadal (interview at DPA, yesterday) about the 23-11 Nadal- Federer:
“That’s a blot on his career for number one in history, but it’s still anecdotal. In the end what counts is … I’d change our balance with him, lose with him, for his 17 Grand Slams”

and about Rafa’s tiredness today:
“He woke up well, no more tired than normal after a game of almost five hours, which shows that he is playing at a good level. Yesterday was a demanding match, but played at a good technical level. And that’s why the current fatigue is not too high. Many times the tension comes when you hit badly, when you are late to the ball or when you make sudden movements constantly”

could be true or not :)


Willow Says:

Gonzalowski hope hes OK for the final, i have yips even now, cant wait lol ….


J.S. Says:

GONZALOWSKI
Can you post link to that interview?
They just said Rafa canceled everything for today, interviews etc.


gonzalowski Says:

It’s on on Marca, with the title
“Soft training and parcheesi for Nadal”

http://www.marca.com/tenis/open-australia/2017/01/28/588c6752ca47417c4f8b4605.html


Michael Says:

Imagine Novak in the final instead of Roger and who will feel the heat and pressure ?

The greatest achievement of Novak in my opinion is finding the right answers to the Tennis beast known as Rafa and his exploits on court.


Willow Says:

Michael but Novaks not a factor end of story ….


Daniel Says:

DC,

You are absolutely right, Dimi was hitting hey but he didn’t use angle overmuch, even when attacking Rafa’s BH side. Djoko, Murray, Fed and many other used the FH to Rafa’s BH opening more the court. Also on BH side.

More important is How Fed’s serve and if he doesn’t extend rallies to not get tired for serving, and attack the net. His ability to take the ball on the rise and hitting flatter than Dimi will take time away from Nadal.

But he needs first set. Nadal will start guns blazing as he did against Dimi to impose himself from the get go (remember in 2009 when he broke Fed’s serve in game 1), and already pressure Fed’s mental side. He knows he have to drag Fed and make him remember.

But curious to see how both legs are holding up, they are not use to go this far and wit some tuff matches in a while.


Truth Says:

Fed had a brutal draw against Novak.
Fed cried for Laver and stole nadal’s spotlight in 2009.
Fed whined for easy draws to come and begged the audience to help him cheat.
7 brutal sad years for Mirka to cream her pants and whine like a spoiled biotch.

Nishikori is now a horrible choker. Nothing about his slam matches is brutal to fed.
Fed is just an overrated prick.


Willow Says:

^WOW Hello moderation, choice language there from Truth ^ ….


J.S. Says:

YIKES TRUTH….
You never answered who you do like?? Assuming you’re rooting for Nadal after reading your last comment.

Only 14 hours until Rafa/Roger Final….CAN’T WAIT!!!


madmax Says:

Truth Says:
Fed had a brutal draw against Novak.
Fed cried for Laver and stole nadal’s spotlight in 2009.
Fed whined for easy draws to come and begged the audience to help him cheat.
7 brutal sad years for Mirka to cream her pants and whine like a spoiled biotch.

Nishikori is now a horrible choker. Nothing about his slam matches is brutal to fed.
Fed is just an overrated prick.

January 28th, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Truth, you are really sleezy, your style and choice of language – wish you would crawl back from where you came from, low life – you have nothing good to say about anyone. Nothing.


Willow Says:

J.S I Believe HE / SHE is a Novak fan, it was a horrible post, name calling of players and their wives (YUCKY ), and Sean let it get through moderation ….


J-Kath Says:

Willow – I think Truth is a Rafa fan – see earlier posts where he talks about the Claymaster!!!


madmax Says:

Truth is lonely and needs the company. Be sure that Rafa would not want a fan like that who talks in such a way about Federer – or any other player for that matter – that is for sure. Truth symbolises the lost era of chivalry.


Willow Says:

IMO If Truth were a Rafa fan, He / She would be delighted that Rafas in the final, and talking about that, but im sure He / She said they were a Novak fan ? ….

Top story: Kvitova Back in Doha Final After Barty Win, Sabalenka Next